(Dillon will bring back the famous number "3" to the Nationwide Series in 2012 - Photo courtesy TMS)
The iconic number "3" made famous by Dale Earnhardt will run in the Nationwide Series next season courtesy of Richard Childress and grandson Austin Dillon.
Childress announced at a press conference Friday morning at Texas Motor Speedway that Dillon would move up from the Camping World Truck Series to the Nationwide Series in 2012 and carry the same number of seven-time Sprint Cup champion Earnhardt.
AdvoCare will sponsor Dillon for twenty events on the schedule next season as RCR returns to the division on a full-time basis.
“We are excited to have AdvoCare on board as Austin makes the full time step into the NASCAR Nationwide Series in 2012 driving the No. 3 Chevrolet,” said Childress. We look forward to working closely with them and the other partners on the No. 3 team to build a competitive and successful program.”
RCR has a fairly successful history competing in NASCAR's number two division.
The team has earned 56 victories and five series championships since its first season in 2000. Kevin Harvick won overall championships (driver and owner) in 2001 and 2006, Harvick and Johnny Sauter won the owner championship in 2003, Jeff Burton and Scott Wimmer won the owner championship in 2007 and Clint Bowyer won the driver championship in 2008.
Dillon leads the Camping World Truck Series by eleven points heading into Friday night's WinStar World Casino 350 at Texas.
Although he has driven the number three in truck competition, Childress said the decision to move it up to the Nationwide Series was taken lightly.
"The three has so much winning tradition, and Dale made that number famous," Childress said. "I know he'd be proud to see (Dillon) run it."
But Childress said truth be told the idea wasn't his own but rather that of Dillon's.
"Austin said, 'Pop-Pop, I want to use your number,'" Childress explained. "I said, 'Austin, that was my number, but Dale made the number famous.' He said, 'Well, it's still your number. I want to run your number.'
"How you going to tell your grandkid no on something?"Childress said Friday that he has no intention of taking the "3" back into the Sprint Cup Series.
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